The Highest Honor

<p>Morris Mack</p>

Morris Mack

For well over 50 years, Sensei Morris Mack has run the Yakima School of Karate.

Hundreds of students have mastered the art under his tutelage.

This weekend, the 9th degree blackbelt was honored before hundreds of his peers.

"I think the biggest thing was that I was surprised it happened to me," said Mack.

Mack was promoted to the rank of Hanshi -- the highest title rank a teacher can obtain, he is also the first caucasian to earn the promotion -- prior to that, only Japanese masters had earned the title.

Hanshi, which translates roughly to "senior master teacher," takes decades of teaching to earn.

Mack first began running the school of karate back in the 60's, he's led dozens of teams to victories, and is also credited with winning hundreds of bouts on his own, including a sparring match against Chuck Norris.

"I'm not going to change what I'm doing, but I have the ability with the promotion to totally change my life and the life of all my students," said Mack.

Under the title of Hanshi, Mack now has the ability to promote his students to any degree of blackbelt -- even up to his ranking of Hanshi.

Students say it's an honor he's been deserving of for many years.

"Not only does he have that leader quality about him, but he has a very gentle quality about him too," said former student Foi Malaki, "Children flock to him, children love to be around him, his karate camp is very successful because children love to be around him."

Despite devoting the past 50 years of his life to the art of karate, Mack says there's still more years left under his brand new belt.

"I'm 75 now, but just a couple of years ago I was 55. I can't see myself ever retiring."